One Thousand Words Plus One Thousand Pictures

If a picture is worth 1,000 words, then what happens when a wordslinger makes pictures? He does what I’m thinking about doing.

I am considering writing and illustrating a graphic novel!

Of course, I’ll use 3D renders for the illustration. That is how Aura Lockhaven was born, way back in 2010. Besides, my drawing skills are less than primitive.

I’d love to use the Reality-Luxrender system, as it produces superior renders, but it is also slow. Slow, as in, it takes all blooming day for one action scene to finish. That doesn’t count time spent composing the scene, developing texture maps, recomposing the scene, cursing over a bad shadow, tweaking the texture maps, trying a different light placement for more drama, more cursing over a missed error in a pose, etc. At that glacial speed, I may finish one page every month. Not even a zen master has that type of patience.

However, with the pending release of Reality 4.1, that time will be greatly reduced. Reality 4.1, with its accompanying Luxrender 1.5, promises to deliver a proven speed increase of up to 600%, and I have the computational power to handle it. So, that all day render will now finish within an hour. That means, a 3D graphic novel is finally feasible.

For some time, I’ve considered making a few four to ten page stories to put on the website as gifts to the few fans I have, and a way to gain more fans for the soon (I hope) release of the Aura stories. Yet, I don’t want to make an Aura Lockhaven graphic novel prior to the release of her first three books. Spoilers, you know. So, who can be the subject?

The Sarethian Seven!

The Sarethian SevenLeft to right: Enorra, Noishante, Coravanne, Iryndelle, Lunambyra, Tannerra, and Yveramore. They’ve existed for a year and a half, and are just sitting around, sharpening their swords, eating me out of house and home, without any actual work to do. They’re rather bored. I really want to do something with them, because creating and naming them was some of the most fun I’ve had in a decade. So, why not feature the Seven in a graphic novel?

If you are not familiar with the Sarethian Seven, I invite you to visit this DeviantArt page, this other DeviantArt page, and this page from my blog archive.

Scantily clad, bad-ass, butt-kicking, head-bashing barbarian women! Shades of Frank Frazetta! Exotic locales! Gentlemen in distress! Haughty monarchs! Impudent wizards! Monsters oozing slime! Vile Evil Transgressors just begging for a good skull cleaving! Hot and cold running swords! Buckles swashed left and right! No anthropomorphic animal comic relief! What could be better?

Dinosaurs. Hmm …

Of course, the one overarching priority is that a graphic novel does not take precedence over the written Aura stories. I can be too easily distracted.

I plan to start with a small story. If it is successful (as in I like it), then I’ll use it as a prequel for something more elaborate. Their stories are already written in tale format. It won’t take much to grab a few from the middle of the book. The cool thing about the Sarethian Seven stories is that they are all tales Henry Lockhaven told his eight year old daughter, Aura. So, they are connected to the overall Auraverse.

I’m not sure if I’ll give this away, charge a subscription, beg for donations, or a mixture of all the above. Research needs to be done to see how to load the novel online, how to integrate it into the website, whether it should be downloadable or read online, black text on white voice bubble or white text on black, which fonts to use, white page background or black page background, how to realistically portray blood spatters in GIMP, etc. This will be a mature graphic novel. While there will be no sex, some nudity is required for a tale to work, there is a tremendous amount of violence, and the Seven are foul mouthed. So, do I need some form of certified age verification for this project, or is the “pinky promise” system I already have in place for the website’s art gallery sufficient?

I’m leaning toward the Japanese realism manga format (Koike and Kojima’s Lone Wolf and Cub), rather than the American (DC/Marvel) format. It offers more emotional punch. Although, I prefer the larger panels of the American format, and obviously, I’ll work left to right. If I’m not mistaken, Frank Miller walked the line between the two formats (Lone Wolf and Cub is one of his primary influences), so perhaps I should revisit his layout style. Then again, for sheer hit-me-in-the-testicles emotional power, nothing has topped Identity Crisis (DC, 2004), so a reread is in order, with an eye toward format. A reread of Dynamite’s Red Sonja series (especially the first years) is also in order. This also gives me a reason to thoroughly read and study BadDragon’s Androssian Prophecy, one of the best online graphic novels I’ve yet encountered.

At this moment, it’s just a probability, and of course, Reality 4.1 must be released first.

But I am preparing even now.

In looking at the Seven, I realized that with just a little tweaking, each corresponds to one of the seven chakras. Now, that is an interesting way to develop character personalities. They almost already fit the descriptions.

Crown Chakra, to Know: Lunambyra. As the sorceress, she’s the most spiritual of them.

Third Eye Chakra, to See: Coravanne. Her skills of observation and perception are uncanny.

Throat Chakra, to Speak: Noishante. She can charm anyone with her voice.

Heart Chakra, to Love: Enorra. She is the kindest of the Seven.

Solar Plexus Chakra, to Will: Iryndelle. She’s all will.

Sacral Chakra, to Feel: Tannerra. She is the most emotional fighter. It is also the creative center, so I will give Tannerra an eye and talent for fine art.

Root Chakra, to Be: Yveramore. She remains calm in any crisis.

Of course, they need flaws. Well, I have seven of them, so why not have each one embody, and have to fight, one of the Seven Deadly Sins?

Pride: Iryndelle. She can be imperious.

Wrath: The vile tempered Noishante.

Lust: Yveramore, who will hop into bed with anyone.

Sloth: Enorra, whose shyness can turn to apathy.

Gluttony: Lunambyra, who drinks too much.

Greed: Coravanne. She can let her purse overrule her brain.

Envy: Tannerra, who is still jealous of Iryndelle’s status as true royalty.

Even if I end up not writing and illustrating a graphic novel, this contemplation has allowed me to develop the Sarethian Seven, further moving them toward the front of my pending written catalog. Not bad for a weekend’s pipe dream.

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